Love Sickness in the Dialoghi D amore by Leone Ebreo

Delfina Giovannozzi


The Dialoghi damore by Leone Ebreo is one of the most popular texts of an extended theoretical debate concerning the nature of love during early sixteenth century. At this time, this theme is already crystallized into two contrary approaches: one, derived from the classical and medical tradition, dwells upon many negative effects of love, understood as a form of sickness interfering with the correct exercise of reason; the other one regards love as the instrument of spiritual self-realization, the nexus by which the soul is finally reunited with God, its origin and ultimate aim. Leones text certainly shares this second approach, but somewhere in the Dialoghi we can find a technical language derived from the medical tradition of the aegritudo amoris, undoubtedly known to Leone, who was a physician. This paper focuses on these passages, trying to show how the theme of lovesickness although limited to a secondary rule represents in this text a stage in the secular diffusion of a doctrine crossing so many different cultures and historic eras.

Key words: Philosophy of Love - Physiology of Love - Effects of Love - Human

and Divine Love

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